The Biggest Problem Eddie Van Halen Had With David Lee Roth
Widely known for his wild and energetic onstage character, David Lee Roth was involved in music before he encountered the Van Halen brothers and began his complicated relationship with the band. Van Halen is known as one of the biggest bands that helped bring back hard rock and represented quality music with its members. Eddie Van Halen, one of the most prominent guitarists of all time, and David Lee Roth, one of the biggest vocalists of rock and roll.
Diamond Dave first joined the band in 1974 and started to build up his career with them that would initially last 11 years. He left the band in 1985 to establish a successful solo career both in music and the radio. He released his first solo EP, ‘Crazy From the Heat’ in the same year, and his first solo album, ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ in 1986, which received a wide positive acclamation and became a hit. According to some critics, it was considered as good as any Van Halen album and even more thrashy and fun.
Even though the Van Halen brothers and Roth had a decent relationship, in the beginning, things started to get complicated once they began to have differences in their opinions about the band. Roth, like his onstage persona, wanted everything to be as big as possible. He wanted to go on tours, be involved in the process of creating album artwork, and be present in the music scene as much as possible.
David Lee Roth Always Wanted To Be As Involved As Possible
Roth wanted to get bigger and better each time. He never wanted to take a break from music. David Lee Roth spoke about how the band, especially Eddie, had a problem with his expectations. He stated this in an interview for a cover story with SPIN in 1986, and the article was re-released to honor the 35th anniversary of Roth’s first album, ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ this summer.
In his conversation, Roth had stated that he wanted to be involved in all the processes of making an album. He wanted to make the video, tour, and design the art for albums. However, the rest of the band wasn’t that involved as he stated that ‘they couldn’t get their asses out of bed.’ This clash caused arguments between the band members, yet, Roth also had other problems concerning Van Halen’s performances.
Here is how Roth described Eddie’s biggest problem with him:
“The biggest problem Eddie had with me was, in addition to making the records and going on tour, I wanted to make the video, make a movie, tour weird places, and get involved in designing the album covers. They just couldn’t get their asses out of bed. They usually just couldn’t make it through rehearsals for two weeks without an argument. ‘A year for an album?’ ‘That’s ridiculous.’ Want to go on the road? ‘Sure, for how long?’ They don’t want to do these four- to five-month tours. So, what are we going to do? Play the stadiums, the big places.
That way, we only have to play the two hot months of the summer. I joke and say you can’t hear my jokes in a place like that. The fact of the matter is, you can’t hear anything in a place like that. From 20 feet you can’t hear. From 80 yards you can’t see a thing. Maybe other artists can communicate with 50,000 people. Maybe it’s Springsteen. It sure ain’t me. I think it’s a rip-off to play stadiums. Can’t hear, can’t see, I got no control over the show.”
He went on and stated that Van Halen didn’t make enough money to do big shows, but that is what Roth wanted. He wanted to travel around the world and perform in countries like Japan, but the band had doubts because they wanted money, whereas Roth was after spiritual more than worldly gain. He claimed that there was no reason to be a popular figure during that time.
Here is how Roth stated that he wanted to travel:
“Rock ‘n’ roll is probably the best form of entertainment. That’s why it lasted so long. I want to do it. Why would they want to do it? Money. I have money. I want to play, tour, go everywhere. The last time I was in Japan was in 1979. Why can’t we go to Japan? Because we don’t make enough money.
It’s not ‘We don’t make money.’ It’s ‘We don’t make enough.’ I always figured I got this gig partly because I want to travel, and if I don’t make no scratch in Japan, fine. I don’t make my money in New York, and if it’s not New York, I’ll make it in South America. It’ll just go up and down, up and down, as my career goes on. You’re not going to be popular in all countries all the time unless you’re Julio Iglesias.“
Roth reunited with the band in 2007 and remained with them until Van Halen’s break up in 2020. Unfortunately, another reunion has been ruled out because of Eddie’s saddening death in October 2020. Moreover, Roth announced his retirement from music on October 1 after his five Las Vegas shows.